Homeschooling curric choices, 2007-2008 (1st, 3rd & 5th grades)
This past week has been full of curriculum purchases for the upcoming schoolyear. We are starting our 6th year of homeschooling on September 10th, which feels a very short time away.
I have a love/hate relationship with buying new curriculum. One of the reasons that I do NOT go to homeschooling conventions is that I’m afraid of being overwhelmed with, “So many good books and ideas, so little time!” I can’t even let myself read a homeschooling magazine. Seriously. Any of them. I start second- and third- and fourth-guessing myself and angsting about my kids’ education, and whether or not I’m doing enough, or doing the right thing. So, rather than letting myself get overwhelmed, I just do my best to pick what seems the best choice at the time, and stick with it until it is no longer effective.
That said, I still do love purchasing new stuff. Even when the core of our studies remains the same, it’s always fun to have new bits injected to provide interest and variation.
Last week, I asked my hubby if I could make some curriculum purchases, and he said, “Wait.” I pitched a bit of a fit, wanting to make my orders NOW. Ack. 😦 I’ve since apologized. That time waiting, I spent researching and refining my choices a bit more, and it turned out that I was glad to have been made to wait. I sorted all of my curriculum wants & needs into a mini-spreadsheet of high-, medium- and low-priority items. When I presented it to my hubby on Monday, he asked a few questions, then said, “Looks like all together it’s about $325.00, so why don’t you just go ahead and get all of it?” WOW. Fantastic. And that, I did. Some things I bought new, and some used, getting the best prices possible for the items.
It’s funny, sort of: When I began homeschooling, I specifically avoided curricula that was too “Christian,” even though we are most certainly Christian. My own semi-poor education was chockfull of Abeka, which seems — at times, to me — fakely and overly Christian*, and I was ready to educate my kids differently. Now… five-plus years later, I’m looking for more ways to integrate our faith into everyday life, and to reinforce Christian principles. I’m still keeping a plumbline of challenging, accurate, well-produced, well-written materials, but looking for more and more items with a Christian “slant.” So, this is our Christianiest (I just made that word up 😀 ) year ever.
Here are our plans for both our continued studies, and for the new stuff.
(To note, Ethan is in 5th grade, Grant in 3rd, and Wes in 1st.)
History & Reading:
- We are going to use Sonlight materials we already have. I am going to go back and do Sonlight 1 with Grant & Wes. Ethan is going to continue with Sonlight 3, which we got in February.
- For Ethan, I purchased Singapore 5A–5B workbooks, textbooks & teacher’s guides. This is the first year I’ve purchased teacher’s guides for his math; IMO, it’s just not necessary in the early-elementary years; most of that work can be checked by me by mental calculation.
- Grant, as well, gets Singapore 3A – 3B workbooks and textbooks.
- Wes will be finishing Singapore Earlybird 2A – 2B. Wesley’s mental math is excellent; he understands way more about math at age almost-6 than either of his brothers did. But his handwriting skills lagged, so we weren’t able to do much of the written work in these excellent workbooks last year. (pic courtesy of www.singaporemath.com)
- I will continue reading from the Egermeier’s Bible Story Book to Grant & Wes, and I got for Ethan a devotional book, The Hidden Treasures in Philippians.
- Grant & Wes will use the science from SL 1, but I wanted a different experiment book, and I chose one called Even the Sound Waves Obey Him.
- E needs new science material, and I want to take advantage of his current strong interest in rocks & minerals, but I couldn’t find a whole year’s curriculum of a creation-based geology — which is why I sort of “pieced together” the four things. We’ll be using The Geology Book and study guide, Connecting Students to Science: Rocks & Minerals, Find-A-Mineral Lab Kit, and Lyrical Earth Science (w/ CD). (pic courtesy of www.creationresearch.org )
- We are also going to continue our very laid-back nature studies and nature outings.
- Ethan will continue with his Rod & Staff English 4, which we only got about 2/3 through last year, due to additional focus on writing activities (like journalling and essays), typing and spelling.
- Same with Grant, except we’re only about 10% through R&S English 2 — we only ordered it this past Spring.
- For Wesley, some material we already have will supplement the Explode the Code 1, 2 & 3.
- For Grant (and Wes, later in the year), I’m going to use this fantastic resource: Writing Skills Activities for Special Children.
- For Ethan, we’re going to start Latina Christiana I over again this year. Last year, we only got through lesson 6. In order to help us actually complete this program, I purchased the DVD lessons.
- Both to introduce “foreign” language to Grant & Wes, and to help with their fine motor skills, we’re going to try American Sign Language, starting easy with the See It and Sign It game.
Lastly, not really for school, I got a couple of card games for our family (Do U Know? and Dutch Blitz), and a couple of books for ME, the titles of which really indicate where we are right now: Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends and Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes . . . in You and Your Kids!
Hm. I think that’s it — other than some misc school supplies, which I haven’t figured out yet. But I saw that we got a card/coupon for $10-off-a-$20-purchase from Office Max, and I’ll use that. We need a GOOD pencil sharpener; that’s the only potentially slightly-expensive item that I can think of that we’ll need to buy, as far as supplies go.
I’m mostly looking forward to this school year; I just have a bit of trepidation about having Ethan do so much of his work independently. But, this past year showed me that instead of focusing on his education firstly, I need to prioritize the younger kids’ work. Too much of especially Wesley’s stuff got pushed aside in “favor” of the more difficult, time-consuming requirements of Ethan’s work. I can’t do that this year.
*Like, Christian handwriting, Christian math, Christian health… it seemed/seems contrived and over-the-top.